Tech & Gadgets | The Daily Dust delivering the best bric a brac, daily news and events with a British flavour

Ireland, why not let Twitter solve your budget problems?

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Is crowd-sourcing the way out of “a bit of a pickle” the answer?

Here’s one for Ireland to consider as they face one of the biggest overdrafts they’ve ever seen. Use Twitter.

After all, when The New York Times decided to try and balance the US budget, they put together a quick bit of web code to build some sliders and numerical representations of the US tax and economy, then challenged people to find the best ‘solution’ to the ‘puzzle’ of the US debt mountain.

The results make for interesting reading, including a clear split into two camps of going for spending cuts or tax increases – both balanced the budget but naturally with a different social effect that isn’t as easy to measure.

More at the New York Times.

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Take to the skies with your own jetpack

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Just nipping out to the shops, how high are those clouds?

How about flying through the air at 63mph with the latest twist on the jetpack? From the Martin Aircraft Company comes a recreational ‘jetpack’ for you to get from A to B (as long as they are within 30 miles or so).

IT’s not a true jet, but ducted carbon fibre propeller blades, and it’s actually classed as an ultralight, and as such you’ll need to take the company’s training course before you can fly away with it.

Oh and cough up around $100,000 and wait till the prototype is finished testing.

Hat tip to Neatorama, more at Martin Jetpack.

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The House of Lords does not have dementia

Posted by in Around Britain, England, Internet | 0 comments

That’s the conclusion of Tom Scott, as he analyses the speeches of the Lords in the upper house.

starting from the point of wondering if (a) due to the age of the “peers for life” any of them have lost their mental faculties and (b) if so could you extrapolate it from the speeches made in the House?

To Hansard (which of course is official record) and a swift download of 700mb of text of the speeches since 1999. Would an analysis of unique words, indefinite nouns and the overall wordcount show any indications?

The results ate over on Tom’s blog, but he sums it up nicely.

The heartening but slightly anticlimactic result: no, they’re not losing it as far as I can tell. There are occasional outliers, but you’d expect that with a sample size like this. For example, the Earl of Erroll and Lord Addington both use a high number of indefinite nouns — but they do that consistently; it’s not a steady decline over years.

There you go, we can all sleep easy.

More at TomScott.com.

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Halloween goes mecha with the exo-skeleton

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Who needs zombies and witches when you can hit them with a gattling gun?

Congratulations must go to “This_comment_has” on the Reddit community for the Halloween Costume that I want to make for next year.

A mix of aluminium, rivets, spray paint, bolts and  a truck to move the costume to the party has resulted in “the most extravagant costume of the year” in his words.

I like!

Hat tip to Boing Boing.

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The electronic dead drop for the USB age

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Would you stick your computer into a public wall for the sake of art?

I just love this idea. Sure you’ll need to make sure that your virus protection is up to date, and be aware of trojans, but the simplicity is what attracts me to it

It’s called “Dead Drops” and is an art installation project by Aram Bartholl. he’s left some USB memory sticks around New York, for people to use as a communal sharing and socialising point.

You are invited to go to these places (so far 5) to drop or find files on a dead drop. Plug your laptop to a wall, house or pole to share your favorite files and data. Each dead drop contains a readme.txt file

Can we have this in the UK please?

More at Datenform.

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Take to the street of London with Nike

Posted by in Around Britain, England, Tech & Gadgets | 0 comments

Your gameboard… London. Your Transport… Nike. Your goal? Fun!!!

“Run Your City” is Nike’s latest mix of advertising and gaming. By turning London’s postcodes into a hex-map with phone boxes in every space, you get a game board of 48 hexes. Challenge your players to enter this grid and call back to your central computer from the phone boxes and not only do you get close to three thousand people playing the game, but some great visuals and graphs on the website.

Try this “Boys vs Girls” look at London to see the teams and players move around the city last week as the compete to complete the challenges.

Expect more of these real world / artificial worlds to come – for now, enjoy Nike’s effort (with some help from their agency Widen + Kennedy)

Hat tip to Fast Company.

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